Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It is now a crime to not pay your T fare (update 1/16/07)

The Quincy Patriot Ledger carried this front page story on Tuesday (1/16) detailing the T's plans to make sure you pay your fare.

T officials target scofflaws - Inspectors, officers to ticket, fine fare evaders up to $250

The law enabling T inspectors to ticket turnstile-jumpers was signed by Gov. Mitt Romney just before he left office two weeks ago. The T is still working out its program to train inspectors and is designing the tickets. The agency expects to be ready to begin cracking down on would-be free-riders late this month or early February.

Under the new law, riders can be ticketed $15 for their first offense , $100 for a second offense and $250 for a third.

If they don’t pay up, the MBTA can file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles to suspend riders’ drivers’ licenses, if they have them.

Riders also can be arrested for failing to produce identification when questioned by an inspector or officer, whether or not they are believed to have paid their fare.

‘‘We strongly believe the legislation will assist in curbing fare evasion,’’ MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an e-mail.

The T estimated losing between $4 million and $9 million because of fare evaders in fiscal 2006, according to a published report.

In one of his final acts Governor Mitt Romney signed this bill into law on Wednesday January 3, 2007. The bill changes wording in the original bill that will now allow fare inspectors to write tickets similar to meter maids.

What it means is that if a T police officer or T fare inspector cites you for fare evasion you will receive a non-criminal citation. If you do not produce a valid ID, you can be arrested. If you then do not pay the non-criminal fine the Commonwealth can then do things to you like refuse to issue or renew your drivers license and other fun stuff. If you live out of state you are not off the hook as Massachusetts has the power to freeze your license in another state.

More on this later
The revision signed by Governor Romney
SECTION 1. Section 101 of chapter 159 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 3, the words “or by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority”.

SECTION 2. Said Section 101 of chapter 159 of the Massachusetts General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out , in line 17, the word “police” and inserting in place thereof the following words: “employees within the instructor, chief inspector or inspector classifications”.

SECTION 3. The second paragraph said section 101 of said chapter 159, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by adding, the following two sentences: “Upon request by a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police officers, a passenger shall provide personal identification for the purpose of issuing a non-criminal citation. Whoever fails or refuses to provide personal identification upon demand by a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police officers for purposes of issuing a non-criminal citation shall be subject to arrest for fare evasion pursuant to section 93 of this chapter.”

The original law
Chapter 159: Section 101. Evasion of payment of toll or fare
Section 101. Whoever fraudulently evades or attempts to evade the payment of a toll or fare lawfully established by a railroad corporation or railway company or by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, either by giving a false answer to the collector of the toll or fare, or by traveling beyond the point to which he has paid the same, or by leaving the train, car, motor bus or trackless trolley vehicle without having paid the toll or fare established for the distance traveled, or otherwise, shall forfeit not less than fifty nor more than five hundred dollars. Whoever does not upon demand first pay such toll or fare shall not be entitled to be transported for any distance, and may be ejected from a railway car, motor bus or trackless trolley vehicle; but no person shall be removed from a car of a railroad corporation except as provided in section ninety-three, nor from a train except at a regular passenger station.
Passengers who fail to pay or prepay the required fare in violation of this section shall be subject to a noncriminal citation, and may be requested to provide identification to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police for the purpose of issuing a noncriminal citation.
A person who is issued a noncriminal citation shall be assessed a fine as follows: $15 for a first offense; $100 for a second offense; or $250 for a third or subsequent offense. If the person fails to pay the fine within 1 year of the date of the issuance of a noncriminal citation under this section, the authority shall provide notice of nonpayment of a fine indicating that the person’s license or right to operate a motor vehicle will be suspended until the fine is paid and informing the person of an opportunity for a hearing by the authority. The authority shall provide reasonable opportunity for a hearing and may waive or reduce a fine imposed under this section within its discretion.

At least 90 days following notice to a violator of nonpayment of a fine under this section, if the violator has not requested a hearing, the authority shall report the person to the registrar of motor vehicles. Upon the report of the authority of nonpayment of a fine under this section, the registrar shall not renew that person’s license or right to operate a motor vehicle under chapter 90 until the registrar receives a report from the authority indicating that the fine has been satisfied. Fines imposed under this section shall be paid to the general fund of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.


Anonymous said...

What a pain. Driver's licenses should depend only on your driving skills. The state shouldn't be allowed to use them as a means to revoke people's mobility because they sneaked through a turnstile.

Anonymous said...

Today I saw a 12 year old yelled at by a T worker for thinking outbound was still free, and boarding thru the rear doors without paying.

Anonymous said...

So lemme get this straight: I'm riding the T, but I don't pay, and I get caught. I don't pay the fine, so they suspend my driver's license. So now I can't drive. Now I have to take the .... T to work? Oh man!! That SUCKS!
Ridiculous law and penalty system. If the penalty was barring from the MBTA for nonpayment, that'd make sense. But driver's license nonrenewal? Gimme a break.

Anonymous said...

Heil Romney! Read the story of a reporter the T-Gestapo convicted of wiretapping...on Boston Common! The cop even said he saw the microphone. A Romney law, I hear, required the same poor man to surrender DNA to Big Brother...and to pay for the priviledge. thephoenix.com/article_ektid29700.aspx